A Walk in Albayzín, Granada (Self Guided)

Take a walk down the narrow, winding streets and delve into Granada's Medieval Moorish past. Albayzín is a wide, open-air museum of history and architecture. In 1984 it became a world heritage site. Get to know Granada of the Nasrid Empire era and enjoy traditional landscapes and vistas.
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A Walk in Albayzín Map

Guide Name: A Walk in Albayzín
Guide Location: Spain » Granada (See other walking tours in Granada)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
Author: anna
1
Palacio de los Cordova

1) Palacio de los Cordova

The Palacio de los Cordova was first built at Placecta de las Descalzas. Constructed between 1530 and 1592, it was owned by Luis Fernandez de Cordova, the Great Lieutenant of Granada. In the intervening years, the palace was sold by the Cordova family, until by the early 20th century, the building was set for demolition. Through its history at the site, it was used as a factory and warehouse by a number of companies. It was demolished in 1919 and replaced by a theatre. The palace’s many treasures were moved to the Villa Maria estate outside the city limits.

In the 1960s, Granada’s mayor, Manuel Sola, persuaded distant relatives of Fernandez de Cordova to fund the complete rebuilding of the palace. A plot was selected at Cuesta del Chapiz, close to the Darro river. The building was completed in 1965, under the supervision of Malaga based architect Alvarez de Toledo, with all of the palace’s preserved treasures returned to the new building. Appropriately enough, the palace now houses the City Historical Archive, a council funded research facility charting the colourful, turbulent history of Granada. First opened to the public in 1984, the building is open throughout the year, and is free to visit.
2
Paseo de los Tristes

2) Paseo de los Tristes

The Paseo de los Tristes is a public square situated on the banks of the Darro, the river which flows through Granada. Its name loosely translates as “the promenade of the sad”. It gained this name as many funeral processions passed through the square on their way to one of the city’s many churches. It is also known locally as Paseo del Padre Manjon, after a local priest who founded a school for poor children in the square. His bust can be seen on one side of the fountain, which sits at the centre of Paseo de los Tristes.

The square and fountain were built in 1609 to create an atmospheric public space. Whilst much of the square and the original fountain have changed over the years, the square is still a lively corner of the city. Plays, communal games and even bull fights have been held here over the centuries. The square is flanked on either side by bridges across tributaries of the Darro River. These crossing points were added in the 19th century, but may have been built over bridges established in Moorish times. Look out for a small town house in a corner of the square – this was once used by musicians taking part in local festivities.
3
Archaeological Museum of Granada (Castril Palace)

3) Archaeological Museum of Granada (Castril Palace) (must see)

Editor's note: The museum is temporarily closed for renovation.

The Archaeological Museum is housed in the House of Castril, a villa built by heirs of the Catholic Kings in 1539. Its elegant façade was designed by Sebastian de Alcantara. In 1917, the House of Castril was acquired by Leopoldo Eguilaz y Yanguas. A keen Orientalist, Yanguas turned the palace into a museum of archaeology for the city, to better preserve Granada’s long history, and the Eastern influences that shaped it. The house has two floors, with a colonnaded courtyard at the centre, all of which is occupied by the museum. There are seven galleries in total covering a number of different archaeological eras. Visitors first pass through a gallery on the Palaeolithic period, with many exhibits on the evolution of prehistoric man. The second and third galleries demonstrate the progress of man up to the Bronze Age.

The museum’s second section, comprised of four galleries, present artefacts from different ages of the modern colonial era, including many exhibits from Roman and Arabic culture. Items on display include weapons, vases, urns and pottery. The later sections demonstrate the many different cultures which have lived in Granada throughout the city’s long history. The museum generally focuses on local archaeological finds, though exhibits from around the world are included. Admission is free to EU citizens, and costs 1.50 Euros for others. It is worth noting that the museum stays open through the afternoon, when many churches and museums in the city close for the traditional siesta period.

Operation hours: Tuesday: 2:30 pm - 8:30 pm; Wednesday - Saturday: 9 am - 8:30 pm; Sunday: 9 am - 2:30 pm
4
El Bañuelo o Baños Árabes

4) El Bañuelo o Baños Árabes

The Bañuelo, also known as los Baños Árabes and Aammim Alyawza, is a beautifully preserved bath house dating to the middle of the Moorish era. They are located underneath a private residence in the Carrera del Darro district of Granada. The bath house is one of the few establishments created by the Moors which survived the destructive conquest of the city by the Catholic monarchs. It is believed that the house, built immediately above it, hid the Bañuelo from discovery for centuries. It is perhaps ironic that whilst many religious buildings and monuments were destroyed, a complex believed to have been partly used as a brothel has survived.

The Bañuelo has been declared a national monument, on account of the remarkable level of conservation. Hidden below ground, this 11th century building has survived almost entirely intact. Highlights include the immaculate vaulted brick ceilings and the star shaped skylight which allowed natural light to fill the bathhouse. The best preserved ancient bath houses anywhere in Spain, the Baños Arabes are perhaps the oldest surviving relic of Muslim occupation in Granada. Entrance to the bath house complex is free. The Bañuelo is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday, and closed on Sunday and Monday.
5
Carrera del Darro

5) Carrera del Darro

Carrera del Darro refers to the left bank of the River Darro, which flows through the ancient city of Granada. It is generally used to refer to a section of the river bank close to the Paseo de los Tristes town square. Lined by historic townhouses, it is one of the finest scenic walks in the city. Walking along the river bank, you will pass buildings that date from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as remains of houses dating from the era of Arabic influence in the city. Across the Darro, the thick forest which surrounds the Alhambra palace begins.

Two stone bridges, known as Cabrera and Espinosa, cross over the Darro along the length of the walk, offering a diversion into the Churra neighborhood on the other side. The Carrera del Darro was constructed in the seventeenth century. Whilst the bank appears the perfect place to create a scenic walkway through the city, it is only by accident that the path came to be created. An explosion destroyed the original wall, which was much closer to the houses that stood here, in 1509. As the wall fell into the path of the river, it created a natural barrier, allowing the street to eventually be widened, creating the popular promenade that you see today.
6
Hammam Baños Árabes

6) Hammam Baños Árabes

During the expulsion of Andalusians, Christians banned the use of Arab baths nationwide and they were forgotten. Nowadays, the bath tradition has been revived. The Hammam building dates from the 13th-14th centuries; during recent archaeological excavations water pools have been discovered on the site. In 1998, Hammam was the first Arab bath to be opened in Spain, five centuries after their disappearance.
7
Church of San Gil y Santa Ana

7) Church of San Gil y Santa Ana

The Iglesia de San Gil y Santa Ana stands opposite the Santa Ana Plaza in Granada’s historic city centre. A small, elegant 16th century church, it is one of the city’s most sought after wedding venues for the wealthy middle class of Andalucía. The church was designed by renowned local architect Diego de Siloe, and was built in the Renaissance style. The building’s front façade, facing onto the adjacent plaza, features three niches, which each contain the statue of a saint, as well as engravings of the Virgin Mary and Jesus.

The church was constructed according to the architect’s specifications. De Siloe wanted to create a heavily decorated, spectacular building which combined elements of Arabic architecture with Christian imagery. This is the unique style behind many of the grand churches of Granada. One example of Arabian influence on the design is the Mudejar ceiling – formed from carved wood, it is representative of decoration produced by the Moorish craftsmen that once lived in the city.

The Church of San Gil y Santa Ana is open to the public for much of the year, and still holds regular services. During the summer months, the building hosts weddings each weekend for the great and good of Granada. Even if you’re just visiting, it’s possible to book the venue for your own wedding.
8
Plaza Isabel La Católica

8) Plaza Isabel La Católica

The Plaza Isabel La Católica is a popular public square in the heart of Granada. It is named after Queen Isabella, one of the Catholic monarchs that conquered the city, who is celebrated in many of Granada’s public buildings and churches. In the center of the square, a monument depicts the queen with great Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus. Designed by Mariano Benlliure and formed from stone and bronze, it depicts Columbus presenting the plans for his voyage to the West to Queen Isabella. Constructed in 1892, it originally stood in the Paseo del Salon, before moving here in 1962.

On one side of the square, you will find one of Granada’s better modern buildings. An office and apartment block with wooden paneling, it was designed by local architects Alvarez, Gomez and Ridruejo Brieva in the 1970s. The lower floors belong to Santander bank, whilst the upper floors are residential. There is a mezzanine level in the middle, designed as a public square. The plaza is best known for the city’s famous Holy Week celebrations, when around a dozen different processions pass through the square. Centrally located, the plaza is an ideal place to watch the festivities, with processions each evening during Holy Week.
9
Corral del Carbón

9) Corral del Carbón

The Corral del Carbón is located behind the City Hall in the centre of Granada. It is perhaps the oldest complete building in the city that has survived from the Moorish era. Its name translates as ‘coal house’ – and it seems that is exactly what it was used for when Granada was ruled by Emirs. Yusuf I ordered its construction as a warehouse and trading post for coal and other goods. Following the Christian conquest of Granada, it was converted into a theatre, where plays on the lives of Spanish folk heroes like Don Quixote were performed.

The building is constructed around a courtyard, decorated with black and white tiles, and with a water trough at its centre. The courtyard is surrounded by galleries and craft rooms. A pavilion links the main entrance to the central area. The Corral del Carbón is believed to have been used as a tavern for coal merchants, complete with sleeping quarters. Known as ‘caravansaras’ or ‘fundaks’, these hostelries were common in Moorish Spain. The building is now a tourist attraction, open from 9am to 7pm on weekdays, and 10am to 2pm on weekends. Admission is free. The Corral del Carbón also houses a small museum and art shop within its walls.

Walking Tours in Granada, Spain

Create Your Own Walk in Granada

Create Your Own Walk in Granada

Creating your own self-guided walk in Granada is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Central Granada Places of Worship Tour

Central Granada Places of Worship Tour

The city of Granada is a fine work of art just by itself. It spans from the beautiful, round shaped, miniaturist Arabic style to the angled, majestic, solid Gothic and Baroque. This tour highlights the history of art styles blended into the history of Granada, manifested in many of the local churches, monasteries and cathedrals. Take this tour to please your eye and challenge your imagination.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Museums and Historic Sites Tour of Granada

Museums and Historic Sites Tour of Granada

If you want to get to know Granada, this is the tour you have to take. It gives you the chance to learn about the city's culture and history -- from the Nasrid Empire to the Christian conquest; much as to be delighted by its architectural wonders. At the end of the tour, you can enjoy the city panorama from one of its Miradores.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Granada is home to many beautiful spots that combine natural scene with stone forms in most intricate ways. It boasts many fountains and places to rest in, read a book, sip coffee - all while enjoying the atmosphere and planning the rest of the trip. Take a tour of Granada's plazas, landmarks and most interesting museums to see the casual life of its people, and the day-by-day events in this...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Granada's Architecture Self-guided Tour

Granada's Architecture Self-guided Tour

Granada has been influenced by four major architectural styles--Moorish, Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque. On this tour of the city, see the Arab time lines imprinted in stone bearing the early Renaissance and Baroque accents. Be amazed by the originality and delicacy of the streets and residential areas of Granada.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km
Touring Around Alhambra

Touring Around Alhambra

One of the first places a tourist wants to visit in Granada is Alhambra. This is one of the best-known sites, and it has a long history. However, Granada has many other things to explore than Alhambra. There are plenty of sights right around this gorgeous palace. So, before visiting Alhambra, take this tour and see what most of the tourists don't get a chance to look at.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 km
Northern Granada Places of Worship Tour

Northern Granada Places of Worship Tour

The churches of Granada are living history pages, carved in stone. This tour is all about the fifteenth century monuments telling the story of remarkable men and their city, starting from the Arab empire to the Christian conquest. With the highlight of religion and history, this tour provides glimpses of the past life. Also, you can treat yourself to the breathtaking panoramas of the city from the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Granada for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Granada has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Granada, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.